Hollywood Studios Update – April 2019

We begin our April 2019 Walt Disney World construction updates at Hollywood Studios, where there are no shortage of new and ongoing projects to cover. In this DHS photo update, we’ll share the latest on the front entrance, Star Wars stuff, counter service changes, and more.

To bring you up to speed on the most recent Disney’s Hollywood Studios developments, there are rumors that Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway has been delayed and PizzeRizzo will reopen on May 4 for the May the Fourth Be With You Challenge to see whether the force is really strong with guests who try to stomach that pizza. In more upbeat news, Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy recently opened, and was way better than we expected.

Right now, the most immediate concern is getting things ready for the park’s 30th Anniversary next month. Disney has announced festivities for the park’s 30th Anniversary on May 1, including a cavalcade starring Mickey and friends at 10 a.m. down Hollywood Blvd, a Commemorative 30th Anniversary Guide Map & Button, and exclusive merchandise & food.

Most notably, the “Wonderful World of Animation” nighttime projection show will officially debut on May 1 at 9:05 p.m. The show will be arranged into themes like magic, family, adventure, romance and friendship, and each theme is brought to life through moments from films like Sleeping Beauty, The Incredibles, Coco, and many more.

You might’ve forgotten about this (I did!) but it was actually announced back last fall when all the other Mickey’s 90th Anniversary and new Epcot fireworks details were revealed. This new projection show will replace the nicely-done Disney Movie Magic, and will likewise occur before the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks show.

Outside Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Skyliner testing has become a regular occurrence.

If they’re stopped when you arrive, we’d recommend grabbing a seat for a few minutes on a nearby bench, as the testing stops and starts fairly often.

Work also continues on the new bag check canopies and parking tram drop-off loop.

We poked fun at the Bus Stop Half Marathon for a while, but I’ve really gotta give Disney kudos on the quality of this entrance infrastructure work.

The end result of the bus stops has been nice, and consistent with the park’s Streamline Moderne entrance design. I was worried that the ‘solution’ for expanded demand at Disney’s Hollywood Studios would be a bunch of temporary tents or umbrellas, but permanently beefing up the infrastructure in a quality manner is nice to see.

It’s not an easy topic to cover in non-park areas, but in the last few years, there have been tens of millions of dollars spent on infrastructure projects around Walt Disney World. Almost all (if not all) of the ‘unnoticed’ ones have been a net positive for the guest experience.

Also at the front of the park, work is being done around the Sorcerer Mickey planter.

You can still get photos with and of it, but you can’t go all the way around to the front dead-center.

Inside the park, the first thing that’s noticeable is that Crossroads of the World Mickey Mouse is gone.

Recent closeup photos I’ve taken of this have led me to believe it’s probably receiving some (needed) TLC, but perhaps Mickey is being replaced with a Stormtrooper. Or for ultimate synergy, maybe Jedi Mickey?! Kidding aside, hopefully we’ll see Mickey return by May 1.

We started to notice some of these 30th Anniversary banners going up in last month’s update, but now there are more and they’re all over the place.

These provide pops of color, and it’s nice to see Walt Disney World actually recognizing a park anniversary, but I find this design and logo so bland.

In our last update, I also remarked that I’d rope drop the MuppetVision area soon to get photos of the gags without people in the shots.

Mission: accomplished. 

I hope there aren’t further place-making plans to further dilute the Muppet goodness of this courtyard.

Perhaps in the future, Disney will finally capture the Muppets sense of humor, and that’ll translate to a hit show on Disney+, leading to this land receiving a stronger Muppets presence. Doubtful, but I can dream.

Unfortunately, rope dropping essentially nothing meant no Slinky Dog Dash, which means no “aerial” photo of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge construction this month. I’d imagine it looks substantially the same as it did in our last update.

Hard to believe that in only a few months, the Figueroa Street Tunnel pictured here will have worse traffic and congestion than an actual freeway in Los Angeles during rush hour.

We ate all the food at Baseline Taphouse a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it.

Full review coming soon…which will probably be totally undermined in a few months when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge changes everything.

The photo op car outside Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant has returned, and is looking good.

In the other direction, there’s still a construction wall up to widen the walkway in anticipation of Star Wars Land crowds. It’s not unreasonable to expect the Galaxy’s Edge entry line to spillover from Grand Avenue to this area at times.

Work is ongoing inside ABC Commissary. The restaurant is expected to close completely on May 4 for a modest makeover and to prepare for table service dinner, which begins in June.

I’m intrigued by this. ABC Commissary has tested out a lot of different menus and concepts the last few years, and most have been dropped pretty quickly. However, Walt Disney World seems to be making an actual investment on the table service dinner. Maybe it’ll be good?

The courtyard in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater has been roped off from time to time to refurbish the handprints here.

Some are still looking a bit worse for wear, so hopefully this work continues.

This seating area remains popular despite Starring Rolls Cafe being closed.

I really hope it reopens once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens. Surely the Trolley Car Cafe Starbucks will need some “spillover” capacity.

Totally random, but I wonder how much longer this studio archway sticks around?

With zero studio-related content in the courtyard, it makes less sense. Don’t get me wrong, I like it, but I’d think this whole courtyard will be one of the next areas of the park targeted for a makeover, and I’d expect this space to be opened up a bit. I guess we should probably focus on the projects that are still ongoing before turning our eyes to the more distant future, though.

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Your Thoughts

Will you be taking the May the Fourth be With You Challenge at PizzeRizzo? Attending the 30th Anniversary of DHS? Ready to sit outside the park entrance for a few hours watching the Skyliner while waiting for Galaxy’s Edge crowds? Thoughts on anything else we covered in this update? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!


15 Responses to “Hollywood Studios Update – April 2019”
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